Louisville Properties Blog
Louisville Properties Blog

Home Owners

Retired Engineer Helps Build Louisville Homes for Habitat for Humanity

Here's the kind of story that's always welcome. Eighty-two-year-old Middletown resident Bob Haswell recently received a 2010 WLKY Bell Award for community service. Since 1991, when he retired as a mechanical engineer at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. on Westport Road, Haswell has been helping the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity build homes. He has driven nails, framed windows and doors, laid flooring and invested his time in more than 200 of the Habitat homes built in the area since 1991. "You can really see you did something at the end of the day," he said. Haswell is one of 4,000 local volunteers who spend Fridays and Saturdays building houses for low-income families who also must help build their homes before they can move in. Despite his considerable accomplishments for Habitat for Humanity and other local charitable organizations, Haswell avoids the spotlight and prefers to go about the business of helping people. We salute Bob and wish him many more years of good health and success building Louisville homes for grateful area families. If you're thinking about buying or selling a Louisville home and are looking for a real estate professional to help you along, call us today at 502.744.9504 or fill out a contact form. We are longtime residents of the Louisville area and have decades of experience helping people buy and sell residential and commercial property. We offer a wide range of different professional real estate services from property management to flat-fee brokerage and much more. Please give us a call today, and give us the opportunity to help you!...

Commercial Real Estate Analysts Say 'Delay and Pray' Strategy is Not Viable

A meeting convened recently at the McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University where some of the biggest names in commercial real estate discussed the state of the industry. Commercial real estate in the U.S. is currently mired in its worst funk since the Great Depression, and in the two years since the credit bubble burst, prices have plunged an average of 40 percent. Industry analysts say that a perfect storm of depressed property values, tight lending practices and the Great Recession has paralyzed the country's commercial real estate market. Prices are down an average of 40 percent across the country, putting additional pressure on reluctant lenders to tighten lending standards further. Analysts say that since no one really knows what commercial real estate is worth at the moment, obtaining lines of credit could get even tougher for the foreseeable future. The analysts said that outside of a few high profile, "can't miss" commercial developments in New York and Washington that have begun recently, little else is happening. They say that everyone is in a holding pattern, waiting for a magical rebound that isn't likely to happen. They also said that the prevailing "delay and pray" strategy that the industry is pursuing is counterproductive and will only extend the status quo and could make it worse. There is no doubt that the economic downturn has affected the prices of Louisville commercial real estate. However, conditions here are not nearly as bad as most markets, which makes now an excellent time to sell and buy commercial real estate in Louisville. If you're an owner looking for a buyer or a buyer seeking your next opportunity, contact the commercial real estate experts at Louisville Properties today. Give us a call at 502.744.9504 and put our experience and resources to work for you!...

Homeownership Rate Down Slightly in U.S.

Foreclosures, job losses, the economic downturn, employment insecurity and other factors are affecting homeownership across the country according to recent data from the Census Bureau. The Bureau reports that as of late 2009, the homeownership rate has dropped from a high of 69 percent in 2006 to around 67 percent. However, another report on homeownership issued by the New York Federal Reserve Bank claims that the actual rate is closer to 62 percent, a much sharper drop that, if accurate, would be far more worrisome. The Census Bureau issued their report in June. It recommends that mortgage lenders and the federal government help struggling homeowners by focusing more of their efforts on reducing the principal owed on mortgages, rather than their current strategy of reducing monthly mortgage payments by cutting the interest rate and extending the repayment terms of the mortgage. A spokesman for the Mortgage Bankers Association refuted the recommendation, saying that "principal write-downs" would lower homeownership rates further by forcing lenders to require higher down payments and tighten lending standards. He said that lowering mortgage principals would lead to falling property values, worsening an already bad situation in many real estate markets across the country. Are you thinking about boosting the homeownership rate by buying a Louisville home for sale? Then you have come to the right place! No other Louisville real estate company has a wider selection of residential real estate in the area than Louisville Properties. We're a locally owned and operated company that offers many different real estate services for buyers and sellers throughout the Louisville metropolitan area. We encourage you to browse our listings and our site. If you have any questions, fill out our contact form for a fast response or give us a call today at 502.744.9504! Resource link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/realestate/18mort.html?ref=realestate...

Government Watchdog Claims Obama Mortgage Program Not Working

A government oversight official recently told a Senate panel that President Obama's program to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure is not working and that Treasury Department officials have failed to fix the program's shortcomings. Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for the financial bailouts, told members of the Senate Finance Committee that the Treasury Department has ignored demands to establish clearer goals for the program. Barofsky made the statements during a hearing on the $700 billion bank bailout. Another member of the panel, Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel on the bailouts, told members that the Treasury's failure to move swiftly could be impairing economic recovery efforts. The administration created the homeownership program to help homeowners keep their homes and avoid foreclosure by reducing the principal balance on homes to reduce monthly mortgage payments. Records indicate the program has helped at least 400,000 homeowners thus far, but 530,000 more have stopped participating in the program for undisclosed reasons. The federal bailout allocated $50 billion to fund the mortgage modification program, but as of July 2010, the program has only issued $248 million in funds. Barofsky told panel members that the Treasury's broad parameters for the program give mortgage lenders too much room in deciding who qualifies for principal reduction. If your current home doesn't have enough room to meet your needs and you're looking for Louisville homes for sale, we invite you to explore the pages of our site and browse our extensive listings of residential and commercial Louisville real estate. No one has a wider selection from which to choose and offers more services for buyers and sellers than Louisville Properties does. For more information, call us today at 502.744.9504! Resource link: http://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=courier-journal&sParam=34098777.story...

Prepare Your Louisville Home for Tornado Season

Springtime is here, and that means that tornado season is underway in Kentucky and other states in the region. Although there isn't much that people can do to prevent a tornado from hitting their area, there are steps that homeowners can take to minimize damage to their Louisville houses if one is nearby. Here are some things that you can do to limit tornado damage to your home:
  • If you've been thinking about replacing old windows with new, energy-efficient windows, spend a little extra and get impact-resistant window systems.
  • Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable to wind damage. Look for impact-resistant doors made of laminated glass, a combination of plastic and glass or another strong combination.
  • Garage doors, particularly aluminum doors, are vulnerable to wind damage. If your home has an older, flimsy garage door that needs replacement anyway, spend a little extra for a stout garage door system built to withstand high winds.
  • If you've been putting off replacing your roof, go ahead and contact a reputable roofer. Make sure that they use metal clips and straps that will anchor the roof to the frame of your house more securely.
While those steps require an investment in your home, the following emergency preparedness steps are cost-free and even more important. To protect your family in the event of a tornado or another type of emergency, take the following steps:
  • Create an emergency plan and designate the best place to take shelter in your home or nearby. Make sure that everyone knows what to do and where to meet if you are separated.
  • Stress the importance of staying calm and thinking clearly in an emergency.
  • Test your children's understanding of what to do and discuss alternate plans under certain situations.
  • Designate a family friend or relative to contact if family members are separated, preferably one...

Homeowner Study Provides Insight on What Buyers Really Want in a Home

The current recession has inspired many homeowners to reevaluate wants versus needs, and researchers are finding that this reappraisal of values also applies to what they really want in a home. A recent study of over 22,000 people who bought a home in the last year provides invaluable insight into homebuyers' current mindset and on which things they are willing to spend extra money. This study is of particular interest to homebuilders and architects. Madison, Wisconsin-based Avid Ratings discovered that most current homeowners plan to be "more practical" when they shop for their next home. The survey found that the majority of homeowners don't want or need health clubs, dog parks, easy access to golf courses, 24-hour security, swimming pools and many other "wants." Walking paths and children's playgrounds, however, are "needs," and builders should note that buyers are focusing more on spaces, not rooms. Grand staircases, media rooms and dead space in general are out. Extra bedrooms, practicality, large kitchen cabinets and efficient use of living space are in. "People are willing to live in less square footage, but it has to be livable," said one home designer. "They won't accept a 10-by-10 bedroom anymore." The study found that homeowners still consider large kitchens, and especially kitchen islands, essential features in a home. Home offices, main-floor master bedrooms and two and three-car garages also scored well with homeowners. If you want to buy a Louisville home that satisfies your needs and wants, we encourage you to spend some time on a study of your own by browsing the area's most complete listings at Louisville Properties. If you want to sell Louisville real estate, Louisville Properties can help with that as well with discount brokerage services, flat-fee MLS listings and much more. Call today at 502.744.9504 for all your Louisville real estate needs. Resource link: http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/yourmoney/la-fi-lew4-2010apr04,0,7478178.story...

New Government Program Seeks to Help Struggling Homeowners

The federal government has created more programs to help struggling homeowners keep their homes. The government has to walk a tightrope of sorts to help homeowners having problems making their mortgage payments while ensuring that homeowners who are struggling but continue to make their mortgage payments on time don't become angry. The new programs are designed to help the more than seven million households that are behind on their mortgage payments as well as the 11 million who are upside-down on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth. White House officials say that if the plans work as intended, struggling homeowners will be able to keep their homes through payments they can afford with mortgages that more closely resemble current market values. If successful, the programs would significantly reduce foreclosures and stabilize housing markets across the country. "We're walking that delicate balance to make sure these solutions are sustainable and not temporary," said David H. Stevens, Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. However, if the bold plan does not achieve its goals, it could result in embarrassment for the Obama administration and make them devise another plan to accomplish the same goals again in a year or less. Critics say that the programs lack any teeth as none of them has the force of law, and lenders say that they have no good reasons to participate in the programs. While the effectiveness of these programs may be in doubt, if you're looking for residential or commercial Louisville real estate, there's no doubt about who has the best selection and service in the area. Louisville Properties has the experience to exceed clients' expectations. Call today at 502.744.9504. Resource Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/business/27modify.html?scp=1&sq=Administration%20Plans%20Program%20to%20Cut%20Mortgage%20Debt%20of%20Troubled%20Borrowers&st=cse...

Short Sales Offer Options for Distressed Homeowners

Homeowners who have lost their jobs or are suffering other types of economic distress may be thinking foreclosure is the only option. However, short sales have become hot over the last year or so, and there is every indication that they will become even hotter in the coming months when the federal government begins providing incentives to lenders to close short sales. "Banks have ramped up short sale approvals," said one spokesman for a company that connects short sellers with buyers. "They're hiring a lot of the people who once worked in the mortgage-lending industry and moved them over to short sales." A short sale is a financial arrangement where a lender allows a homeowner to sell a home for less than he or she owes on it. It works for homeowners because they can get out from under that debt obligation. It's an attractive option for lenders for these reasons:
  • Even though they take a loss, they can get much more of the investment back than they would in foreclosure
  • If the home goes into foreclosure, they assume ownership of the home and have to deal with their loss on the mortgage and taxes, maintenance and other costs
  • If the home goes into foreclosure, many foreclosures sit on the market for months or more and can be vandalized, stripped of plumbing fixtures, etc.
  • It is much better to facilitate the transition from one owner to another so the house doesn't sit vacant and depreciate
Short sales have gained in popularity recently and accounted for 17 percent of all residential real estate sales in February 2010. If you're looking for Louisville homes for sale, but want a great deal, you may wish to consider buying a short sale home. For more information and the area's best selection of Louisville real estate, call Louisville Properties at 502.744.9504 today. Resource Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/29/real_estate/short_sale_explosion/index.htm...

Preparing Yourself and Family for Louisville Homeownership

You may be in the market to purchase your first home. By now, perhaps you've sat down and thought about the positives of Louisville homeownership. You're aware that a home means equity, a line of credit for expenses and home improvement, the tax credits available, and even the dignity that comes with owning your residence. You may be concerned about being able to make a monthly mortgage payment while dealing with the upkeep of a home and other life expenses. You don't have to feel trapped in your residence; get your questions answered well ahead of time by reputable realtors, lenders and mortgage counselors. One of the best things you can do before you decide to buy a home is get your debt under control. The amount of debt in your name will have an effect on the amount of money you'll be qualified for towards a mortgage. If you have a large amount of debt, the best advice is to work hard towards paying it down. Don't think of it like you're putting owning a home on hold; think of it as working towards the goal of buying one! You should be aware of your credit situation before you start the process of buying a home. Your bank can assist you with credit checking and, of course, this goes hand in hand with the pre-qualification process. Knowing what you can afford before you begin home shopping and sticking to what your cost limit is will help you live comfortably in the long run. Many renters worry about the term "house poor." Preparation helps to avoid this being an issue. If you're ready to take the plunge and get the house you've been waiting for, Louisville Properties is ready to help you get started. Call today at 502.744.9505.

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Possible Rise in Louisville Homeowner Equity

Recent statistics are showing that Louisville homeowner equity could be on the rise. In general, homes in the United States are showing rising equity levels, which is great news for people interested in buying or selling their homes. Improvement across the board is showing slight increases in numbers, but increases nonetheless. This information hasn't been widely publicized as of yet, but the government is running extensive surveys about homeowner equity. It's been several long years of watching equity and value levels slide in homes all over the United States, and Louisville properties went right along with the slide. However, the new studies slowly being released show that the pattern of low levels is gradually starting to rise. Hopefully, these "bits" of reported improvement will start to balloon into larger numbers within the next few years. Major cities all over the United States felt the economic hardships and housing downfall the hardest. These are cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami and Tampa. Reports are proving now that negative equity is getting pushed to the wayside, even in these areas. Louisville homeowner equity is expected to rise right along with the rest of America. Even the cities that were the hardest hit in the recession—like Phoenix—are reporting brighter futures for owning a home. The market is improving; the numbers are finally starting to show results. If you're interested in buying a home in the Louisville area, contact Louisville Properties today by calling 502.744.9505....

Tax Incentives to Owning a House

Buying a home is a major financial commitment; however, taking this step affords the owner many significant tax benefits that they can enjoy year after year. The federal government has created these tax advantages in an effort to promote home ownership across the country. The tax rebate for first-time home buyers makes owning a home an even better deal. Here is a brief outline of the tax incentives of owning a home:
  • Tax-deductible mortgage interest
Any interest a homeowner pays on a mortgage is deductible from their income taxes up to $1 million. In addition, if they take out a home equity loan, they may be able to deduct the interest on that loan up to $100,000.
  • Property tax deduction
Any local or state property taxes that a homeowner pays on their property are deductible from their income tax. However, any money in an escrow account to pay future taxes is not deductible from income tax.  
  • Tax-free profits
When a homeowner sells their home at a profit, that money is not taxed up to $250,000 for a single homeowner or $500,000 for a couple. There are conditions, i.e., a homeowner can only claim this type of exception every two years; however, a partial exemption may apply to any profit from selling a home under unforeseen circumstances.
  • Deductible moving expenses
If a homeowner buys a home at least 50 miles closer to their place of employment than their last home, the government allows the homeowner to claim moving expenses as a deduction. Naturally, there are some conditions that apply, such as the need for the homeowner to work full-time for at least 39 weeks the next year. Still, most of these conditions are very easy to meet for the overwhelming majority of homeowners. In order for homeowners to maximize the tax benefits of home ownership, they should speak with...

Website Provides Fraud Watch for Homeowners and More

Mortgage fraud continues to plague homeowners, and lenders and criminals are constantly creating new ways to separate people and mortgage lenders from their money. However, a new website provides free assistance to prevent homeowners from becoming victims of a new and especially problematic type of fraud called "house theft."  The new site—ePropertyWatch.com— monitors public documents associated with a home and promises to let homeowners know if there is any illegal activity, such as a forged deed that fraudulently transfers a home's title, in connection with their home. The site also provides informal home appraisals and other tools to track real estate activity in a homeowner's neighborhood and much more. In scams called "house theft," a thief assumes "ownership" of a home so that they can sell it to other criminals who have secured a loan on the property. The fictitious "seller" then splits the take with anyone else in on the scam. Incidents of mortgage fraud jumped 36 percent in 2008 over the previous twelve months to almost 64,000 cases, according to the FBI's annual report. The site uses a combination of home selling prices in the user's neighborhood, recent appraisals, foreclosures and other neighborhood-specific information to estimate any home's current value. It provides long-term changes in the median selling prices of a zip code. Users can sign up to receive emails when a new lien is placed on their home or when their home's assessed value changes significantly. While mortgage fraud may be on the rise, there's nothing unsavory about finding your perfect home or selling one quickly with the assistance of LouisvilleProperties.com. This Louisville real estate professional has many years of experience assisting clients and has the area's best selection of Louisville homes for sale. Call today at 502.744.9504....
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